- Fedora 12 claims PulseAudio improvements. Here’s hoping sound will actually work after suspend+resume again.
- Also: iPod train wreck of the morning was the Cardcaptor Sakura theme followed by Garbage’s Supervixen.
- What’s with all the “Be a social worker!” spam lately? It’s a change from the usual porn, pills, watches & software, but out of left field.
- Future reference: Though there’s no lever to pop the hatch on the Prius, unlocking the doors allows someone else to open it from outside
Man-Eating Birds, Algae-Powered Cars, and Googly Androids
- Fossils linked to Maori legend of man-eating bird. The giant Haast’s Eagle, which died out at least 500 years ago, was originally thought to have been a scavenger, but new analysis of fossils indicates that it was a lion-level predator…making it the probable basis for the Maori Te Hokioi legend.
- Top Cyber Security Risks 2009. Operating systems are becoming less and less of a problem, as attackers focus on client applications like Adobe Reader, QuickTime, and so forth.
- Odd headline combo: “The algae-fueled Prius hits the road” and “Flesh-eating bacteria hit the beach.” (ZDNet newsletter)
- I like the sound of “Googly Android devices” (Also ZDNet)
Rethinking the Electric Car
We’ve started watching the first season of Leverage on Netflix instant. Last night we watched the second episode. At one point the “good guy” character explains that yes, he really did give away most of the money he got from the last job, after buying a couple of things. Like a new car. Electric. Just being responsible. He then gets into his car, the camera pulls away, and you see that it’s a Tesla Roadster — an all-electric, high performance (and very expensive at $128,000+) sportscar.
I made some remark about how the Tesla was intended to make people rethink the electric car.
Katie’s response: “Every time a Prius gets pulled over for speeding, people rethink the electric car.”
Quick Thoughts on Gas Mileage
Yesterday the Los Angeles Times ran an article about the fact that, in response to soaring gas prices, smaller cars are outselling light trucks (which include SUVs, pickups, and minivans) in the US for the first time since 1996. Last night I was going through old magazines that we’d just tossed in a bag before moving. I found the September 2006 issue of Westways (the California Auto Club’s magazine), with a cover story about the new breed of small cars, wondering when the market would shift in response to the high prices. Now there’s timing.
On a related note, 9 months of driving a Prius has given me a somewhat different perspective on “good” and “bad” mileage. When I see averages of 38–48 MPG over the course of a tank of gas, and can get up to 60 MPG on straight, flat stretches of freeway, advertisements touting 25–30 MPG just don’t sound that enticing.
Driving a Prius
I’ve been driving a 2007 Toyota Prius for a little over two months now. My old car was a 1997 Nissan Sentra that I’d had for years, so just driving another car is a change. Then factor in the switch from a plain gas engine to a hybrid…
Thoughts on the Car
Very smooth, very quiet ride. Lots of nifty little conveniences, like the fact that it remembers different volume levels for radio vs. the line-in jack (for the iPod). Far roomier inside than it looks. Oddly enough, I think it may be wider than the old car.
Not big on the hatchback, though I’m getting used to it. Cargo space is limited, though it makes very efficient use of the space it has. Lots of extra little compartments, hooks, etc. Cup holders are a bit too loose* for most purposes, including my travel coffee mug (yeah, big deal, I know).
I’ve found myself changing the way I drive. I used to focus on maintaining stopping distance. Now I’m focusing on making the most efficient use of acceleration. The Prius dashboard displays the point MPG, and a graph of 5-minute averages over the past half-hour. It makes you acutely aware of which actions are most efficient. Continue reading